I will be testing and reviewing the Atmel ATXMEGAB1-XPLD evaluation kit in the next few weeks.
I will be looking at how responsive the board itself is, how useable the IDE is and how it holds up to extreme temperatures being in southern Canada we get nice cold temperatures in the winter and up to 40ºC in the summer
If any one wants to check out the kit before I get my grubby hands on it, or take a look at some the other Stuff Atmel has take a look here: canada.newark.com/atmel
the server will be down this afternoon for about 45 min to 1 hour starting at about 6pm EST
The last few weeks I have been having server stability issues and kept seeing disk read errors in the logs I initially thought it was a failing hard drive which I then sourced to a faulty SATA cable but that wasn’t the only issue. Fortunately the hard drive is in good health and was working properly when I tested in my desktop but I still kept getting disk read errors I finally sourced it to the drives not getting enough current to run properly when I went to confirm this theory by checking the PSU voltage in the BIOS it was fluctuating between 4.8V and 5.01V so yeh the power supply is on its last leg. once I discovered that I removed all non essential components from the PSU and disabled 2 of the CPU cores which has kept the system running for the last 4 days I have ordered a new one which came in today and will be replaced tonight.
server has its new PSU and has happy voltages across the board and is much quieter than it was before
I just realized i forgot to publish this last night DERP
Since most people don’t own a backup generator (including myself though I would like one). I have been in this situation a few times in the last year due to a new building going up in my area or fires or wind between the power generation facility and the city and have lost power for more than a few hours.
In the longest lasting one I found that my phones battery was pretty close to dead so I pulled out the bread board to remedy that problem my first reaction was to use a lm7805 (datasheet) a 5V regulator that would have been nice but I didn’t have any at the time (the closest electronics store is a 20 min bike ride away (and there POS terminals would probably be dead anyway) so I couldn’t be bothered but I had a few dozen lm317t’s (datasheet) a variable regulator
With the last of my phones battery I looked up the data sheet (if I had room I would probably keep a print out of all the components data sheets I own ) and built the circuit with the light from the camera flash
The equation for the voltage regulator is Vout = 1.25v*(1+r2/r1)
I used a 240 ohm resistor for my r1 so 1.25(r2/240) and I want a near 5v out put. So 5v= ((5/1.25) -1) *240=720 and the nearest resistor I have is 750. So 1.25(1+(720/240)) =5.156 close enough! the devices internal regulator can handle an extra 160 mV. In any case its a CMOS logic device so its all 3.3V anyway. I ended up using 2 in parallel to dissipate excess heat (I didn’t have any TO-92 sized heat sinks).
As for a final product I added some low value caps (.1 uf on the input and a 10 uf on the out put) along with some protection diodes (see final schematic) . I now have it soldered on a perf-board and in an Altoids tin for use in the future. In fact the last time I went camping I brought it with me and it came in handy. The first night there pretty much killed the battery due to the cold night granted the only use I have for my phone was emergency communication and as a time piece (not an issue any more with my pebble).
(please note that the pin numbers are wrong out is pin 2 and adj is 3)
(please note that the pin numbers are wrong out is pin 2 and adj is 3)
So I got my hands on a pebble smart watch (black).
My initial reaction was to the feeling of the wrist band (made of TPU rubber). Its a 22mm wide band and has pogo pins so easy enough to replace them with better straps, I’m not much of a fan of rubber straps on watches (I don’t like sweaty wrists).
Contrary to popular belief it uses a monochrome(1 bit) LCD display and not an e-ink display it uses a lot less power than a color LCD but more than an e-ink. It’s crisp and has a back light that’s just bright enough not to blind you in the middle of the night. One thing to note is that in certain lighting condition rainbow patterns will appear on the lcd but on a positive note it has a very wide viewing angle. I can read the display at a 10 degree viewing angle.
I find Its sleek looking built entirely of polycarbonate the front is scratch/ shatter resistant although a bit bulky on ones wrist. The buttons on the pebble are a bit tough to push down( likely do to them being sealed against water entry)
The second thing I took note of when i opened the package was the bizarre connectors on the left side, after about two seconds of thinking the make perfect sense; the fact that they want the device water tight (to 5 ATM), you cant do that with a standard USB plug and socket design. Unfortunately it only supplies power to the watch to charge the battery, so all the data stuff has to be done via Bluetooth. It’s done most likely do to the size (they wouldn’t want any unnecessary components). In any case the charging cable fits well, and is held in place by two (probably neodymium) magnets. Although it falls off rather easily and will go and stick to something else made of ferrous metal. I was worried it may be causing a dead short fortunately the designers thought of this and molded a small ridge structure that is taller than either pin so it wont short (also probably to keep the proper orientation).
It is reported to last 7 days on 2 hours of charging I haven’t tested this as I haven’t had it long enough as of writing this but its been running 3 days straight as of now)
It runs off of Bluetooth version 4 so yay for power saving and I can connect with my phone on the opposite side of the apartment just fine (~15 m).
The vibration is strong enough to get your attention but I doubt it will wake me up (upon testing the alarm will bring me out of deep sleep). That brings up another point its silent no speaker peizo or other wise to be seen granted its not a positive or negative note just something to point out
Works in the shower and submerged I was using it as a remote for listening to music and yes I like listening to metal in the shower deal with it.
its been reported to work to 80 + feet I don’t go SCUBA diving so I cant confirm.
The android app:
OK…. not a strong point but not bad either its fairly easy to navigate but I have some issues with it.
I had some issues with connecting to the pebble and when ever you restart the app you need to re-setup your watch on the app and I would often have it stuck “connecting” but once I stopped messing with the connections and finally got a good connection to the watch it went quite well.
It contains only a very limited number of “watch-apps” only being different displays (or watch faces if you will ) and to get more you need to hunt through the play store (or one of the apps that hotlinks to other play store apps) some i understand like needing access to network or GPS but many of them just push notifications and it would be nice if the official app gives a better selection so you don’t fill up your installed apps page with a bunch just for pebble infrastructure.
I cant seem to find a bloody stopwatch /timer app for it I would assume it would be standard install (given that I had cheap digital watches with that function 16 years ago. Upon further investigation I found a site (mypebblefaces.com) that has user crated apps and faces many of the timers are meh and I cant find a simple stop watch but plenty of nice watch faces.
The watch UI:
What I like:
Quite clean and intuitive to navigate and can select various faces from the get go, but can get a little more complex with the addition of various apps. I like the use of the accelerometer you can tap or shake the watch to make it light up.
What I don’t:
1. There is to auto wrap on the menus so yeah scroll to the bottom then 2 seconds later need to scroll all the way back to the top, it auto scroll’s very quickly but still not as good as an auto wrap
2. The music app needs some work I would like to be able to adjust the volume like holding the next/last song button or double taping
3. The back-light is about 2 seconds too short for my liking and would like to configure it other than on/off/auto
4. Text that’s too long is just truncated with … and I would rather have it scroll into view (or at least give the option)
My wishlist for the pebble (in order of importance):
1 Auto wrapping menus
2 Built in stop watch/ countdown timer
2 The music app
3 Options for the wrist strap
4 Adjustable length of back-light
5 More space for apps (this may just be a hardware limitation barring that have something built in to the phone app for easy swapping of watch-apps)
6 Scrolling text of things that don’t fit on one line
7 Pushing alarms to the pebble.
8 a battery level indicator that always shows you the current level (at least 5 segments)
What I’m running (I’ll probably do a review on a couple of these):
1 Music Boss (not a watch app)
2 Canvas for Pebble
3 Pebble Bike
4 Pebble Dialer
7 Ring my Phone
9 Just A Bit ( I like reading BCD)
Over all I would give it a 7/10
It looses points mostly for the android app and some missing / “could be better” functionality that may be addressed with future firmware updates. Its useful but not a necessity if you don’t own a watch and want a good quality one grab a pebble its only $150
Ok so yesterday I found / was adopted by a kitten (4-7months old), she has no collar or tags. When I left the apartment like literally as I walked out of the building this kitten ran up to me I scratched her head as I do with any animal that is willing to come to me. As I walk away she would not leave me alone (something that has never happened to me ) I thought it was rather odd to see her because it is quite cold for a short hair cat 0c (-10c from wind), and she was shivering so the only thing i could think was: 1 she is lost and doesn’t know where home is, 2 she was abandoned, or 3 is a stray. So I ended up taking her home. Once I got her inside I noticed she was rather skinny for her age, and quite dirty (more than a normal outdoor cat is). From the way she looked she was outside for at least 4 days to a week. Besides being cold and a bit under weight she seemed in good health (possibly with a has a flea). After exploring the apartment for an hour and eating some food she jumped on my bed spent 2 hours cleaning then passed out for a few hours. Waking again to clean a few times the other 2 cats are a bit unhappy about her but seem to be warming up to her and her to them.
I swear to god this cat is the most friendly creature in existence to an almost annoying level and no shes not in heat.
last night i went to bed and she climbed up and slept on my back ….
She didn’t have fleas but the beginning of frostbite on the right ear. She is doing well and gained her weight back and is now growing and developing as a cat should and the other 2 cats are getting along with her just fine
first yes the cheap ones are often poorly designed either using fake complacency labels or just barley making it to the standard that being said try to avoid using them
as for the usb standard it is 5V (this can vary within .25V due to component values not being exact) most computer motherboards supply a MAXIMUM of 500mA to usb ports it doesn’t mean it will always supply that. the device(s) attached to it determines the current draw, the same is true for wall adapters. they will be rated for 500mA 750 mA 1A or 1.5A etc. the important number is the voltage you want to be as close to 5V as you can, all devices have some form of voltage regulation to protect agents slightly high voltage, (if they don’t its simply bad design) the excess energy gets dissipated as heat android devices are normally ok with power consumption on stand by but when you start doing a lot of cpu heavy tasks and have all the bells and whistles going (gps, back light, wifi, lte, cell modem, etc) it starts drawing a lot of current (and making the phone hot) i have screen phones draw more than 1A with everything running (the battery still draining while plugged into a 1A rated power adapter)
remember kids kerchoff’s (how ever its spelled) current and voltage laws
in series circuit V1+V2+V3+…Vn = Vt and in parallel circuit I1+I2+I3…In = It
(usbs are parallel devices) there for I1+I2+I3…In = It so the max output for a desktop usb is 500mA and you have 1 device using 400mA the other can at most use 100mA or they will balance out depending on how greedy the little bastards are (wants all the electrons for them selves)
don’t believe me turn on a lot of lights in your house than start a freezer or air conditioner and you will see the lights momentarily dim (due to the high current draw from the compressor starting) the voltage will stay at 120 (220-240 for Europe) but the current will drop to the other devices (or blow a fuse)
its that time of the year where i annoy every one to go donate blood if there is any way you can give back to society give a pint (500ml) of blood it will probably save someones life there is even a benefit for you that every donation is screened for STD’s and STI’s so if you caught something they will tell you
as of now i have 5 successful donations (as i do it at my college each semester)
the process is easy you go do the registration then the basic screening (answer a few yes/no questions) then do the advanced screening with the nurse/volunteer take blood pressure, temperature, check your iron level (with a little prick on the finger) answer a few more questions with the nurse and you make your final (anonymous) decision if they should use your blood with a bar-code sticker after the nurse leaves the screening room this is to keep people safe because someone may be to embarrassed to admit to sleeping with a prostitute recently to the nurse and not want there blood used (it is still tested however)
after they take you to the donation area and put you on a stretcher /bed thing they will find the blood vane for your arm mark it and clean the area with an antiseptic then tape down the tube (to your arm) and insert the needle they will collect a small amount for testing and the rest will go to the main bag after 5-15 minutes tou will be done you will have to hold a gauze pad for a few minutes and then they will take you to a recovery/observation area to make sure you feel ok (about 5-15 min) then you get all the cookies /juice/ coffee you want then you can be on your way but be forewarned take it easy for the next 12 hours as you will be short of breath easily due to the low blood level not to mention getting the munchies (you got to replace that lost protean and iron some how)